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CRC to meet on watershed

The Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) is set to hold its final meeting Monday, 3 p.m., at the South Street Conference Center at 122 South St. in Farmville to discuss next steps to assist the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in the development of Phase III of its Watershed Implementation Plan.

Cam Johnson

The watershed implementation plan is a non-binding item, meaning that the state cannot enforce localities to participate.

During the previous meeting held Aug. 30, Members of the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC), area planning and zoning directors and state officials learned about ways their counties can create Best Management Practices (BMPs) or efforts to reduce pollutants from entering area rivers.

The council previously discussed participating in the watershed program after being contacted by VDEQ and hosting a previous meeting about the program earlier in the summer.

Cam Johnson, regional planner for CRC, previously gave an overview of the DEQ’s third phase of its watershed implementation plan, which includes creating a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program for the Chesapeake Bay. The TMDL was designed to help implement restoration efforts to lower pollutions in the bay and surrounding rivers and streams. The DEQ will submit the third phase of its watershed implementation program to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later this year.

Johnson said during a CRC meeting held Wednesday that he met with the Piedmont Soil and Water Conservation District, which will be working with the CRC on implementing agricultural and urban BMPs.

CRC Executive Director Melody Foster said that soil and water conservation districts would have to hold a joint meeting with their planning districts, including the CRC. She said a meeting for the CRC region is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Culpeper.

CRC member and Charlotte County Supervisor Nancy Carwile expressed concern about one potential BMP, fencing cattle from streams, asking what cattle or landowners would do if the power goes out and water access is limited, such as what many residents are facing with Tropical Storm Michael.

CRC member and District Four Supervisor with the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors Morgan Dunnavant said some landowners have installed solar pumps that could continue to work even when power goes out. He said some landowners also have an emergency access gate and non-erodible fenced-in channel at streams for cattle if the farm’s well pump goes out.

Johnson said that he and other CRC representatives have also worked with Friends of the Appomattox River, Clean Virginia Waterways, area building officials, area planners, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Health, Hampden-Sydney College, Longwood University and Prince Edward County Public Schools.